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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Drive Through Mastectomy's

Well, I am happy to report that today is a better day, not by much, but it is a better day. I did see my plastic surgeon today just to make sure I am healing like I should and that my drains "working appropriately." He reassured me that everything is going just as it should. That was good to hear. We are still set to have the drains removed next Tuesday. I am looking foward to that!

Now, to the real purpose of this post. My mom sent my an email last night that I felt was absolutely necessary to share with everyone who reads my blog. Please know that this is not an email that was forward to me. Rather, it depicts the difference between health care 20 years ago, when my mom had cancer, and health care now. If your reading this, then you probably know someone, besides myself, that has been affected by breast cancer. This is your chance to do something to help those that you know and love. Please read the following email and check out the links. You can make a difference!

This was written to me from my mom. Thanks Mom!

Hello..normally, I delete any forwarded emails with "stories" or "requests" to respond or forward to "10 of your friends", however, after your last post, perhaps this is the time to send this out to the many readers of your breast cancer blog. Thankfully, you have a wonderful husband and supportive family to assist in your recovery.

Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts, within six months. I had two mastectomies, six months apart. After each surgery, I was kept in the hospital for a minimum of 7 days. I needed every day! This gave me time to recover my strength, eat correctly, get all of my "systems" going again, and have drains removed before going home to my family. I also was able to meet with support volunteers for emotional support and physical therapy (Reach to Recovery Volunteers).

A lot has changed in twenty years mostly for the good, but not always! While most
mastectomies today are not as radical and recovery is quicker, it is still a major surgery with an extended recovery time. Not only that, the majority of women going through this are older women, many with no husbands or assistance at home. I have met countless women who are on their own, OR may have husbands that are not able to
support them for valid reasons or selfish reasons. Regardless, the thought of
having a mastectomy in the morning and going home that evening OR the next day is
ridiculous! This is the norm today!

Not only are women having to deal with the emotional trauma of having cancer surgery
and losing a breast, they are also having to be their own nurses: milk and empty surgical drains, control their own pain medication, watch for infection, and wonder if they need to call the doctor when something unexplained happens, basically recovering on their own.

Below are two links: they are safe!

The first is a link explaining the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which, has no surprise, languished in Congress for years. There is a letter on this link dated 2001 from the AMA endorsing this legislation. Thanks to the representative who keeps
sponsoring this bill. Please read about it!

The second is a link to a petition through the Lifetime Network to make our voices
heard. While the petition is a great idea, direct contact with our own representatives who want our votes, is a better way to get the message across. As long as we continue to accept "blanket" medical decisions rather than personalized medicine, we will lose more and more control. I say put the decisions back into the hands of the doctors and patients!

To the many readers, this may someday effect you!

http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/mastectomy.asp

http://www.lifetimetv.com/breastcancer/petition/signpetition.php

1 comment:

H P Austin said...

I say Amen to your mom Pat! She is 100 % right! I think you had too much surgery to be sent home in 2 days. Hang in there and try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want my best friend to be pain free. The only thing that makes me smile is knowing that she is CANCER FREE. I have a lot to be thankful for. I just hope your pain subsides SOON and that you will be feeling better ASAP. Love HIL